Child support modification


#1

Recently the mother of my 8 year old son decided to take our child support order out of the clerk of courts hands and have it taken over by CSE. They are creating a new case and going through all the steps that must be done. I would NOT have known about these proceedings had my wife not logged into my CSE account to make sure our information was up to date. That is when I found out I had a court date/hearing coming up within the next month. I am in the military and have been since Sept. 2007, we have had the same custody and child support agreement through the courts since 2002 when my son was born. I decided to go into the military to better myself and to make a better life for my family financially. I am also enrolled in school to hopefully become a MD. I sat down with my ex and her new husband before I signed the papers to enlist to make sure they would work with me and support me making this move, and they both seemed to be very supportive.

Once I left, EVERYTHING CHANGED. My son was not allowed to see my wife from September of that year to November. My son was told by my ex that she had no idea where his daddy went, she thought maybe somewhere on a boat. So needless to say, my son has gone through a lot of emotional stress since I left and had quite a bit of negativity put in his head about my leaving. He was used to being with me every other weekend from Friday to Monday, every Monday and every Wednesday. I did explain to him before I left where I was going and tried to help him understand to the best of my ability, I mean he was only 4 years old, so it was extremely hard to make him comprehend what was happening.

After my basic training, I was finally able to call him on a daily basis. Progressively over the past 3 years, things have gotten quite a bit worse. There has been a lot of drama and my son has been forced (by my ex) to be put right in the middle. He has been told many lies, and trained to lie as well, (ex. he is told to lie about things to me). Both my wife and I have had to chase any medical records, school grades, or other information around due to the fact that my ex refuses to inform us on anything. They have foreclosed on a brand new house that they moved into in October of 2007, and moved so many times that my son has been in 3 different elementary schools and he is in the 3rd grade. It is obvious he has some emotional issues and that the relationship between he and I has almost been lost. Even when I call to talk to him, he is like a robot and my ex stands over him instructing how to answer me. When I come into town, she will not let me see him, she went through a phase where she would not let me talk to him, until I had a sheriff go by her “then” home to make sure my son was ok. After that she tried to NOT let me see him on Christmas leave because she wanted to “pay me back” for sending the police to her house. Everytime I call I have my son’s step father (who he now calls daddy) yelling things at me in the background like “you’re a deadbeat dad, you raped your sister, you’re a long distance bad ass” and so on.

I have paid my child support every single month since the day I received the order. In fact before I left for the military, I paid two - three times the amount I was ordered to pay simply b/c I was so afraid of what could happen if I lost my job or if anything major happened. This is why I believe they were able to build a huge brand new home, buy 2 new cars, and so on. Once I went into service, they only took out what I was ordered to send. At first my ex tried to accuse me of being over $1000 behind and threatened court, but that never happened b/c I am assuming she discovered she was wrong. The moved into that home in October of 2007 and had it up for sale in January 2008, Foreclosed December 2009. I never know where my son is living or where he is going to school until I begin calling the previous school and find out he is no longer enrolled there and then my ex will tell me that they had to move and he is in a new school.

I provide insurance (military insurance) for my son, she wasn’t using it, she was using medicaid and my wife had to report it to insurance fraud to have our information put onto the medicaid card. My son has free lunch at school, and always looks as though he is underfed and ungroomed. It is very clear they are not able to take care of him at all. She still receives child support each month, but now she wants MORE. Her husband has not worked in over 2 years and she works part time at a daycare due to her loosing her afternoon hours after receiving a ticket for failure to stop for a school bus, and seeing that was her job, to drive a bus in the afternoon, she was cut back to part time. She then enrolled in classes at the local community college for 2 days a week.

So now, we are going back to court for an increase in child support. She has done a complete 180 when it comes to me getting my son when I’m home on leave and is even willing to meet me to exchange him where as before she would NOT meet us at all, we always had to pick him up and take him home.

I recently have been informed that I am being transfered to a reserve unit back in NC, so I will be able to abide by our original papers that were never changed until I check into the new unit. Then it will be nearly impossible for me to get my son on a Friday and take him to school and get to the unit by 7:30 am which is an hour or so away from my home. My wife no longer works due to our son being born a micro preemie and she has to take care of him. I want to go back to court to modify our custody to either me having primary seeing how she is not able to provide for our son, or to reduce my visitation to every other Friday-Sunday, alternate holidays, and have 2 - 3 weeks in the summer months. My wife and I are ready to have primary custody simply b/c we know my son is NOT getting the care he needs. My ex has a son with her now husband, a step son, and our son, which is the same situation in my home. My wife and I have a son together, I have a stepdaughter, and then my son.

According to the CSE caseworker, it doesn’t seem like our child support will go up and it didn’t help that my ex lied to her and told her we never provided my son with insurance so she had to use medicaid and then was busted by the insurance fraud agent my wife had worked with several years ago.

So my question is… what do I do? I know I need to modify the custody agreement one way or another but I am not sure what is the best decision emotionally for my son, to get primary or just take less visitation. And, if the child support is modified, and later the visitation is modified, what happens if we do get primary and our support is raised? Will we still have to pay her, or will the support be adjusted as well since she will have visitation. I know it is very hard to make that change from a mother to a father with primary custody, but my son is not being taken care of and I believe is being mentally abused. He is very withdrawn, even at school, and everytime I provided him with a specialist or a therapist she denied it. She only takes him to his pediatrician every 3 months to get his concerta refilled. According to the specialist, he is on the absolute maximum amount of concerta he can be on for his age, and I am very concerned.

What should I do?


#2

You may file a motion to modify custody. Motions to modify custody must be based on an alleged substantial change in circumstances affecting the child’s wellbeing. From the facts you list, it seems as though much has changed in your son’s life since the last Order was entered.

Before you move forward, you need to decide what type of change in custody you wish to pursue. If custody is changed, support can thereafter be modified to be based on the custodial schedule.

The best advice I can give you it to go sit down with an attorney in the county where the action lies (where the last order was entered) to explain your situation and get the attorney’s thoughts on how modifications cases like yours are viewed by the judges in that county.